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Date:12/25/2014 7:41:32 AM
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The Hoe, Part II
I was talking about the hoe, in my opinion, the quintessential tool of the Countryman. The long hoe I was talking about is actually called the dego hoe. Wikipedia describes it as, "The typical farming and gardening hoe with a heavy, broad delta-shaped blade and a flat edge." Although the origin of the term is not known, I did a little thinking and decided to look up the closest Spanish word, "degollar." This verb means to slit the throat, or decapitate. This definitely describes what we do to weeds with a hoe. We cut off the weeds at ground level with such a hoe, although my Pa insisted from day one of my "hoeing apprenticeship" that it was necessary to hoe deeper in order to take out the roots.

Now using a long hoe doesn't mean that a good hoer doesn't have to stoop in order to get the tiny weeds growing next to the plants. Pa had always admonished us boys to get down and pick those weeds by hand. To this day, with us "boys" being in our fifties and sixties, it is considered a mortal sin to inadvertently cut off a young corn shoot while trying to hoe out a weed next to it. Even at my age and with my labor-worn knees and hips, it does not bother me at all to stoop or kneel and hand-pick those weeds. When I do so, it is not the subservient act of a beaten-down laborer, it is the loving act of a free gardener. Hal Borland wrote: "The way to plant a garden is on your knees. You have to bow to the Earth." The same goes for hoeing. -- Gary
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